Just found out that one of my Getty Images, a herd of stampeding elephants, is on the March 1st Cover of Newsweek. Fame for a week! What is really amazing to me, and what continues to amaze me, is how easily the market can accommodate multiple uses of an image. Had it not been for Charlie Holland, and a couple of others who pointed it out to me, I would never have known the image was a Newsweek cover.
Stampeding Long Horn Cattle and a Need To Get Out More
I have images that have been used hundreds and hundreds of times and have never seen them in use! A couple of months ago Time used one of my elephant images in a spread…never did see a copy of that! Another “stampede” image, a herd of stampeding longhorn cattle, has been licensed more times than I can count; yet I have never actually seen it used. Amazingly, it is very rare that I ever see any of my photos in use. It has only been about a half-dozen times over twenty plus years that I have actually just “happened” on one of my stock photos being used. Maybe I need to get out more!
The Devil, The National Enquirer and Maxim
A photo of me as the devil was used in the National Inquirer…and no I didn’t see it while standing in line at the grocery store…someone else did and alerted me to it. The same image was once also used by Maxim magazine. I set a pretty high standard with my self-portrait! In another case in which someone else alerted me to the use of one of my images, a shot of a fisherman on Inle Lake, in Myanmar, was used on the paperback copy of Amy Tan’s Saving Fish From Drowning. The publisher used an image shot by my friend and colleague Nevada Wier (great blog by the way), for the hardcover version. Oh well….
A New York Street Artist
I do remember one time when I personally saw one of my photos being used. I was perusing a sidewalk gallery in New York where street artists were selling their wares. One of them was selling photo prints, including one of my silly animal images. Close inspection revealed it to be a rather poor color copy of one of the greeting cards. I chose not to pursue the matter.
A Lighthouse In A Storm and Success
Another time I was photographing an executive for an annual report. He wasn’t being exactly cooperative, until I pointed out that the poster on his wall, a shot of a lighthouse in a storm in a "Success" poster, was one of my photographs. He must have really liked that poster because his whole attitude changed and suddenly he couldn’t have been any more cooperative!
Image Over Use and Micro Stock
It is with the above in mind that I rarely, make that never, worry about an image being over-used. Of course, over-used is better than over-emulated (using a “nice” word there). One thing that would make me crazy if I were in micro stock would be the option people have of seeing which images are best sellers. I don’t think that is good for the company, for stock shooters, or for clients. It has to have some limiting factor on the diversity of a collection. But I digress. I think I will go back to enjoy my brief pleasure at seeing one of my photos on the cover of Newsweek!
Oh, one more thing, here is my Public Service Announcement of the week (and one I heartedly endorse):
Involved in stock photography?
Please take the 2010 SAA stock survey at
results will be collated and published